The Omani national carrier, Oman Air, which in the meantime has gathered a fleet of 40 aircraft, which serve 49 national and international destinations, is said to be readying itself for a cargo partnership with a so far undisclosed Singaporean company.
An interesting but also surprising piece of news seeing that it is not that long ago that Oman Air tied up with Cargolux (CV) on the cargo sector. The Cargolux-Oman Air agreement allows CV to
operate its freighters through Muscat, on to India and back, giving Oman Air a block space agreement on these flights.
Latest news was that this new service is running well and payloads are attractive for both airlines.
Spinning off cargo?
Reuters News Agency reports that Oman Air plans to create a separate cargo subsidiary and that discussions are on the way between itself and a company in Singapore.
It is so far not clear whether this is an airline related or an investment entity with whom the Oman managers are talking with.
An unnamed manager at Oman Air is apparently quoted as saying that this new joint-venture is planned to be majority owned with 67 percent by Oman Air and that the start-up will be in effect within the coming months.
Whether this would have any adverse effect on the present agreement with Cargolux remains to be seen.
There is an Omani government backed restructuring programme in place for the national carrier which foresees a spinning-off of its cargo operations as a separate entity.
This programme also plans that the Oman Air catering and ground handling departments be set up as own-entities. However, they will continue to be wholly owned by the airline.
Restructuring needs additional funding
Oman Air has made a name for itself in the region during the past few years with the acquisition of a new long and short haul fleet and international services.
The carrier would also like to position itself in the gulf region as a “hub-carrier.”
In order to achieve this, additional funding is needed.
The Omani government at a meeting held last month agreed to raise the carrier’s share capital by acquiring a further OMR138.1 million (US$359 million) in the form of newly issued shares.
One can at the present time only assume that the new Singapore 33 percent partner will be an investment entity.
Oman Air does not have an own cargo fleet and therefore today’s agreement with Cargolux is probably not being questioned.
This was confirmed to CargoForwarder Global by Luxembourg sources close to the case.
John Mc Donagh